Earlier in the week I spoke in the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill debate. I emphasised the point that so many of my constituents are worried about the risk to the employment, health & safety and environmental protection rights that they currently have under European regulations.
You can watch and read my contribution to the debate in the House of Commons below:
“First, let me make it clear that people in my constituency, Blaydon, voted leave in the referendum, but they did not vote to risk the regulations and protections that they have to safeguard them. I want to talk about not clauses and regulations, but practicalities. My constituency has suffered serious problems arising from two landfill sites. Last year, we had three months of—not to put too fine a point on it—stench from one of the sites. The year before, we had a serious litter escape that blighted the local rural landscape.
The House will not be surprised to hear that many of us want greater environmental controls, not only on landfill sites, but to protect our rivers, air and natural environment. My constituents are worried about and want to retain all the employment and health and safety rights that they have under European regulations. It is crucial that Members of this House have the opportunity to examine the process of bringing those regulations into domestic legislation and how they are to be carried forward. In its reliance on secondary legislation, the Bill takes away the House’s ability—the ability of all us Members—to ensure that existing protections remain. I want to make sure that not only environmental but other protections from European legislation remain; if they will not, I want to be able to raise those issues with the Government and in the Chamber.
Government statements have said that they are going to transfer all regulations—everything is going to be okay, and it is all going to be incorporated into UK law—but as more than one Member has said today, the devil is in the detail. It is that detail that we need the opportunity to deal with. To use another well-known phrase, fine words butter no parsnips. The Government have come forward with fine words, but we need them to come forward with practical mechanisms to allow the proper scrutiny of regulations in this House, and they must do so.“